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August 25, 2022 — The Sumaira Foundation (TSF) is pleased to welcome Nicole McLaud to its team as Ambassador Liaison. As of August 2022, the Foundation is proud to call 40 patients/caregivers from 4 continents TSF Ambassadors.
When Nicole experienced her most severe attack with NMOSD, she ran a successful family daycare out of her home and planned to transition to a full spectrum special needs daycare center in her town in upstate New York to serve the unmet needs of local families. In April 2018, she was finally diagnosed with sero-negative neuromyelitis optica during a month-long hospital stay, recovering from sudden partial paralysis due to transverse myelitis. It was during this recovery period when Nicole discovered TSF.
“The energy I received from the Foundation’s content, social media channels, and website was uplifting and supportive. It made me feel connected to a patient community from my hospital room. Since then, I have made it both my passion and priority to ensure that no patient/caregiver ever feels alone on this journey with a rare disease,” recalls Nicole.
Nicole was one of the first Ambassadors to join the Foundation when the program launched in 2019. In 2020, Nicole became the Foundation’s grant manager, serving as the administrator of TSF-funded grants and liaising between researchers and leadership. As an avid reader herself, in 2021, Nicole launched the Foundation’s monthly book club which soon became a sought-after community gathering.
“Since joining TSF, I have been able to amplify the patient and caregiver community voices, connect newly diagnosed patients with accurate information and medical personnel to guide them, and raise concerns to legislators about NMOSD/MOGAD. I choose to live daily, knowing that we are just one more day closer to a cure. But, until we get there, I prefer to shine a light into all the corners we can not see,” adds Nicole.
TSF is proud to be a patient-led/patient-powered organization. To apply for the TSF Ambassador Program, visit https://www.sumairafoundation.org/community/tsf-ambassadors/.